After years of fits and starts, it looks like mobile media’s moment in the spotlight is finally here. Smartphone penetration tipped over 40% this summer (Source: Nielsen), 3G connectivity is nearly ubiquitous, and tablets are poised to take the 2011 holiday sales throne.
What will light a fire under mobile media? Publishers need to see higher CPMs. For that to happen, advertisers and media buyers need mobile to come out of the cave and catch up with the evolution of online advertising on the traditional Web. One little word that will make a huge difference: targeting.
Real targeting at a meaningful scale has been very difficult, if not impossible, until now. This is because mobile is a different beast than the traditional Web. Cookies are fleeting. Carriers and device makers can exert control over the distribution rules. And consumers are not yet as comfortable with respectfully-implemented tracking on mobile as they are on the traditional Web.
The future of mobile advertising is in real audience targeting, namely connecting online mobile behavior with offline consumer activity at scale. Not contextual targeting based on audience surveys. The future of mobile advertising requires hard data and accurate targeting on a scale that delivers billions of impressions with a laser-like focus. The mobile industry needs a rocket launcher, not a gentle nudge, and real audience targeting is it.